Everyone loves Michelle Obama, and now she has bangs. But the mass freakout? Not warranted. She didn’t reinvent the style wheel. Women aren’t flocking to salons requesting “Michelle’s bangs,” nor are her bangs sparking a national hair movement like Jennifer Anniston’s “The Rachel” did in 1995. Cassie and Rihanna rocked the half-shaved look, and scores of young and not-so-young wannabes copied, yet the style never reached enough fervor to inspire parody Twitter accounts. Meanwhile, Michelle’s simple cut somehow does.
The FLOTUS is a smart, classy, stylish, attractive, 49-year-old woman who decided to change her hairstyle, like many women do. Obviously, most of us aren’t debuting our new hairdo at the inauguration, but we need not overanalyze her coif. Of course we obsess over public figures in general, but her bangs aren’t important. In fact, her bangs are quite normal — like my best friend’s bangs in the fourth grade, or even mine now (I alternate between bangs and wearing my hair parted in the middle when I get bored).
But the media is acting like her bangs are the second coming of hair Jesus. Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan decided to test-drive the look on Live with Kelly and Michael. “Bangs are in! Follow the new trend inspired by Michelle Obama!” Styleblazer.com proclaimed in a recent headline. The Daily Beast also chimed in with “Breaking: Michelle Obama Has Bangs!” A People headline read, “New ‘Do Alert: Michelle Obama Debuts Bangs” (as if anyone actually needed an “alert”). And if you want to watch video footage of her hair, you can do that too. The Twitter account @FirstLadysBangs recognizes its significance, tweeting things like, “I AM DRUNK WITH POWER.”
Commentary on Michelle Obama’s wardrobe makes sense — Thom Browne and Jason Wu aren’t available at your local strip mall, and lots of people outside of fashion circles had never heard of either until Obama wore them. But her bangs aren’t special.
“Bangs continue to remain popular, and many people have requested them at my salon and spas over the last year,” says hairstylist Paul Labrecque. “Before Michelle Obama changed her hair, a lot of my clients brought in pictures of Jennifer Lopez, Heidi Klum, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Jessica Biel, asking for bangs that are similar to theirs.” So Obama didn’t spark a trend; it’s a trend that already existed. Remington celebrity hairstylist Richard Marin, who recently styled Tina Fey’s hair for the Golden Globes, said, “Bangs at the moment are really on the forefront of updating your hair. The FLOTUS is very fashion savvy and probably noticed the trend.”
Joico celebrity colorist George Papanikolas, who has worked with Sofia Vergara, Kim Kardashian, and Nicole Richie, had this to say: “The heavy bangs give Mrs. Obama a softer, younger, instant cool vibe rather than the feathered bangs she was previously sporting.” She’s that hip, down-to-earth friend, sister, mother, and aunt everyone wants or wants to be like, and the new bangs enhance that persona.
Now, if she starts to wear wedge sneakers, please keep in mind that she didn’t invent or spark that trend either.
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